Gamers long for the best virtual reality gaming experience, and might cast the likelihood of getting stuck in the world as an impossibility. The idea isn’t new to the anime community, and having an RPG where the protagonist themselves is trapped in a video game is a premise that will catch the attention of many fans.
Lea has lost her memory and is supposedly trapped in a popular MMO. With no way of returning to her physical body, she must climb the ranks of CrossWorld while attempting to regain her memory and learn the truth about what’s actually going on. As Lea, players will embark on a journey with many surprises and secrets to uncover. There will be the heartwarming moments, hilarious scenarios, and of course, the tear-inducing incidents.
CrossCode has many interesting characters with personalities likely to please. The world itself looks and feels like a real MMO with all of the minor details implemented in the background, such as NPCs randomly running around or characters logging out when tired. The story is charming and the probability of guessing the major events that will take place is low.
CrossCode is an ARPG that meshes fast-paced combat, engaging puzzle mechanics and a compelling sci-fi story into a sight to be seen. The game has players exploring the vast world of CrossWorld to complete quests and clear dungeons.
Tutorial and Controls
The game handles guiding new players pretty well. The tutorials are not long and get straight to the point. They can be skipped if needed; however, it’s always recommended not to for the first playthrough.
Most of the controls are easy to learn. As shooting plays a major role in the game, aiming is essential. While the analog stick provides an extra layer of challenge to the inexperienced console gamer, it doesn’t take too long to get accustomed to it.
Puzzles and Dungeons
CrossCode is filled with puzzles – both straightforward and complex. The entity of dungeons is riddled with puzzles players must solve. They vary from effortless to difficult, where the brain is put to work. Various mechanics must be utilized to complete some of the more challenging obstacles, and it feels rewarding upon completion. An example is aligning objects in a specific layout, switching to an effective element, and firing at an angle so the shot bounces off and hits its target. There will also be situations where constant movement is necessary with good timing.
The developers have put a lot of work into the creation of the game’s puzzles to ensure a thrilling experience with each while also catering to many types of players. Some require good reflexes even if the solution is known, some may need the good old trial and error, and others need time to think it through to figure out the answer. It’s heaven to the people who love a good puzzle.
Some of the late-game dungeons can be laborious with how huge they are, leaving players exhausted. Data can be saved with the pull of a menu and a press of a button to quickly resume gameplay, so there’s no shame in admitting defeat and taking a break every once in a while. Even though the game does not save in the player’s exact location, it’s close enough to the area where the game was saved when resuming.
The game’s dungeons don’t only throw puzzles at players, but also enemies to engage in combat. From small fry to bosses, they’ve been mixed exceptionally well with the puzzles throughout the dungeons.
As previously mentioned, solving puzzles isn’t the sole attraction of CrossCode. Combat in the game is fast-paced with a large variety of unlockable combat arts at the player’s disposal.
Enemies will be lurking throughout the world of CrossWorld in its overworld. Most will not attack unless struck first, making it easy to travel without disturbances. Defeating the majority of enemies in the game is straightforward; however, some take a moment of thought to overcome. The late-game bosses are a perfect example of that. Dodging and blocking play a crucial part during battles, as well as employing the most effective combat arts and passive skills for Lea’s circuits to exploit enemy weaknesses.
Skill trees aren’t uncommon in RPGs. CrossCode has its own called Circuits which greatly strengthens Lea’s performance during battle with additional combat arts and passive skills. As Lea levels up, she earns CP for each elemental branch. CP can be used to unlock combat arts and passive skills which Lea can take advantage of when clashing with enemies.
These additional fighting skills drastically improve gameplay and with over 90 combat arts and many passive skills to choose from, there is surely something that will pique each player’s interest.
There is a large variety of enemies and a sufficient number of bosses in CrossCode. Even though some are rehashed designs with different colors, the range of the different enemy types isn’t disappointing. Bosses are always new and their appearances fit their statuses superbly.
Combat Rank and Item Drops
Fighting enemies in the game temporarily increases the player’s Combat Rank. The higher the Combat Rank, the higher the chance of obtaining item drops from fallen foes. Taking a breather from the battle triggers the countdown for the Combat Rank’s reset.
This system makes it easier to grind for enemy drops, assuming the player is capable of surviving the swarm of enemies in each area and finding new enemies to continue the thirst for annihilation.
CrossCode comes with a variety of options to alter the game’s difficulty. There’s no difficulty level to select before embarking on the journey through CrossWorld. Instead, players can choose what aspect of the game’s difficulty to heighten or lower. If the game is too hard to the point where it isn’t as fun as hoped for, the difficulty can be reduced at any point and time during the game.
Damage received, enemy attack frequency and puzzle speed can all be adjusted on a reasonable percentage-based scale. Players who are unable to keep up with puzzles can slow things down to make them more manageable. Similar can be said about overpowered enemies with how often they attack and how powerful those attacks are.
Rest easy knowing fast travel is an option in the game. Checkpoints are scattered throughout the world which players can instantly teleport to when not occupied by battle. This makes it less of a pain to revisit areas since it is something that players will be doing occasionally during the game.
The map isn’t difficult to understand, but that does not mean CrossCode spoonfeeds players. They may have to travel on foot a bit depending on the location they wish to go to after teleportation. Even though the game is generous with its checkpoints, it does not go overboard to pamper the player.
Graphics and Soundtrack
CrossCode is marketed as a 16-bit SNES-style game and it certainly lives up to expectations on modern-day consoles. The world is gorgeous and not overly complicated to navigate. There are various sceneries to discover and dungeons all have a unique theme. Characters change their facial expression during dialogue, magnificently shaping the atmosphere of conversations.
The game does have slight performance hiccups on the Nintendo Switch; however, they aren’t too bad. Updates may also be made available in the future to improve minor framerate issues during combat and pauses when opening menus.
The soundtrack functions well with the type of gameplay CrossCode has to offer. Claimed to be made by a rice ball, it certainly holds a place in the Guinness World Records if that was the case. Its calming melodies shift to upbeat in the heat of a battle, and the pressure it exerts on players is exhilarating when the cooldown countdown begins ticking.
CrossCode is a perfect blend of fun and challenging puzzles with fast-paced action-packed combat. Its story goes beyond expectations and the amount of content it has to offer is satisfactory. Puzzle lovers who have a soft spot for ARPGs will surely rejoice over the creation of CrossCode.
CrossCode gets a 9/10.